Published On: Fri, Jan 17th, 2020

Alleged N2bn fraud: Maina paid N150m to acquire Abuja property -Witness

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By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja

The fifth prosecution witness, Khalid Aliyu, in the trial of the ex-Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, yesterday revealed that the defendant, paid N150milion in cash to acquire a choice property in Abuja.
Testifying before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court Abuja, Aliyu, who is Maina’s younger brother, revealed that the property which his brother purchased is located at the Life Camp area of the FCT.
Maina is answering to a 12-count criminal charge of money laundering alongside his firm, Common Input Property & Investment Limited, preferred against him by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC).
The second defendant, Faisal, his son, is equally facing a separate 3-count money laundering charge before the court.

At the resumed proceeding yesterday, the PW5, who worked as a banker, confirmed to the court that her sister was indeed unaware that an account was operated in her name.
Led in evidence in chief by the prosecution counsel, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, Aliyu, who said he is presently a civil servant, explained that his elder brother, Maina, used him and his colleague Oluwatoyin Maseke, to open the account with his sister’s details.
He said: “I know the 1st defendant, he is my brother, Abdulrasheed Maina. We are from the same father and same mother.
“At some point, my brother requested me and my colleague Toyin Meseke, to open a savings account for my sister, Nafisat Aliyu, although she was not aware of the transaction.
“We proceeded to her house at Wuse 2 to collect her utility bill as part of the requirement to open an account.
“Later, Oluwatoyin Meseke collected a copy of her international passport from my brother to complete her account registration. This was because at that time, she was supposed to accompany our mother to the hospital. Her passport and that of my mother was with my brother for Visa processing.
“We particularly requested for the utility bill, but she was unaware of the account opening.
“After we collected the documents for the purpose of the account opening, Oluwatoyin completed the account opening form and the account began transaction.
“Later my sister complained to me that she was receiving debit alert messages on her phone. I asked her to show the messages to me and later advised her to see my colleague Toyin to have her details excluded.
“Toyin Meseke was the one that was single-handedly managing the account. He is aware of most of the inflows and outflows from the account. Although the account after it was opened, was placed under my balance-sheet in order to boost my balance sheet”.
Further in his testimony, he said “There is an account that my friend called Sani Musa who registered a company with the C.A.C. opened. The company is called Cluster Logistics.
“Though I wasn’t part of the registration, he sought my consent to add me as a Director in the firm.
He initiated the idea of both of us as friends, to start a small scale business. My brother was aware of our intention to start the small scale business.
“Afterwards, the 1st defendant (Maina) requested to use the company for verification exercise, which we agreed to. But he directed that one Abubakar Mustapha should be the sole signatory.
“Even though Abubakar Mustapha was the identification on the account opening form, the 1st defendant was the signatory.
“There is a third account by Dr. Faisal Abdullahi. The 1st defendant also requested an account by Dr. Faisal Abdullahi be opened as part of investment account for his farm proceeds.
“A man by the name Abdullahi, with a drivers licence as his identification card, provided me with documents for the account opening. The signatory to the account was also the 1st defendant”, the witness added.
On how the former pension boss bought the choice property, the witness said: “The 1st defendant sent me on errand to one Alhaji Ali Sani for payment of a property located at Life Camp. The property was of the value of N150m.
“The 1st defendant gave me the money in cash to deliver to Alhaji Sani. He gave me the money at his residence in Kado Estate, Abuja.
“It was in Dollar currency. After he gave me the money, I delivered it to Alhaji Sani at his residence. He collected it, confirmed it with his people, and handed over the documents to the property to be delivered to the 1st defendant.”
Under cross-examination by Maina’s lawyer, Mr. Afam Osigwe, the witness denied being involved in money laundering or fraudulently scheme while he worked as a banker between 2008 and 2012.
He insisted that though his name was listed as a Director with shares in Cluster Logistics, the firm his brother used its account to conduct transactions, he told the court that he never personally signed the account documents.
“As a director in Cluster Logistics, I am the lowest shareholder in the company and as at the time my friend registered the company with my consent, he wrote my name and signed it.
“Besides being a civil servant, my brother was also involved in farming. He has a farm along Keffi Road, Nasarawa State.
“I am an experienced banker. I underwent so many trainings that included anti-money laundering trainings.
“I am aware that under the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, no individual can make a cash payment of N500, 000 or its equivalent in foreign exchange,” he concluded.
Further cross-examination of the witness continues today (Friday).

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